‘Silver surfers’: expats over 55 are online experts


BRITISH expats over the age of 55 are much more tech savvy than their counterparts back in the UK, according to a new survey.

Three out of four expats living abroad and aged over 55 are regular internet users, and are much more comfortable and capable when it comes to using Skype, paying bills online or booking plane tickets. In the UK however, more than 50 per cent of over 65’s can’t use the internet without supervision, and 28 per cent have never used the internet at all.

The vast majority of the ‘silver surfer’ generation of expats use social media and email to stay in touch with loved ones back home, according to the NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index. Nearly two-thirds of expats also use social media to keep in touch with fellow expats.

“It’s fair to say the internet has had an incredible impact on the life of your average British expat since our Quality of Life Index began seven years ago,” said Dave Isley, head of NatWest IPB. “Being separated from home comforts and family and friends has clearly motivated older expats to adapt to a new way of communicating, as they are forced to embrace new forms of technology at a faster rate than their British-based counterparts.”

Facebook is the most popular social network site that expat Brits over the age of 55 like to access, and 59 per cent use the internet to access entertainment sites. A further 47 per cent are able to manage their healthcare services online. Seventy-two per cent of the expat silver surfer generation also own a smart mobile device.

“It’s inevitable that we’ll continue to see an increase in the technological capabilities of the over 50’s in the expat community,” said Mr Isley. “Mobile technology has become a vital tool for British expats on the move, enabling them to access some of their home comforts when they need to.”

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